Messi? Pirlo? Ramos crowned as Panenka penalty king - by the man who invented it!

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The Real Madrid ace has twice emulated one of the most famous spot-kicks in football history - and it has not gone unnoticed

Antonin Panenka, one of football's greatest innovators, believes Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos has perfected the penalty routine which propelled him to stardom.

Representing Czechoslovakia in UEFA Euro 1976, Panenka produced a chipped spot-kick down the middle which clinched victory over West Germany on penalties in the final.

Many players have succeeded in replicating the effort such as Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi and Italy legend Andrea Pirlo.

The likes of Zinedine Zidane in the 2006 World Cup and Alexis Sanchez in the 2015 Confederations Cup have also had the nerve to pull off a Panenka in a final.

But Spain ace Ramos, who first did it during the penalty shoot-out win over Portugal at Euro 2012, recently repeated the technique in Real's 4-1 La Liga win over Girona.

And the defender's success has not gone unnoticed, with Panenka labelling him the best imitator of the famous penalty.

He exclusively told Goal: "Yeah, he [Ramos] had already done that twice, right? So I guess he could be the best imitator, because he made it more than once. 

"People know it about him, and he still makes it, so that is great for him.

Antonin Panenka

Lionel Messi Panenka Barcelona Villarreal LaLiga 06052017

"I really enjoy watching Spanish football. 

"Even if there is lack of goals, I always find some interesting things in every game in La Liga. 

"And maybe you don't know, that I almost played in Spain! I think Real Murcia wanted me, but it just did not happen."

Panenka admits he practised his penalty for two years before introducing it on the biggest stage of his career at Euro '76.

The 69-year-old has revealed extensive studying of goalkeepers led to him developing the idea, after losing several bets with reserve goalkeeper Zdenek Hruska.

"I practised it for two years before Euro 1976," he added.

"I just figured that every 'keeper always jumps to one side, so it could be good to kick it in the middle. 

"After every practice I competed with our goalkeeper (Zdenek) Hruska in penalties. 

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"He was really good, so I was losing a lot of money, chocolates, etc. 

"Then I started to use my little trick, and suddenly I was winning often. 

"The bad thing was, that I was getting fatter because of all the chocolates I won!"

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